The recession in the traditional heavy industries along with the development of advanced technologies in all the industrial countries has meant that the impact of heterogeneous catalysis in the synthesis of fine chemicals is becoming increasingly noticeable. The first International Symposium on Heterogeneous Catalysis and Fine Chemicals is to be seen in this perspective. Organised by the Laboratory of Catalysis in Organic Chemistry of the University of Poitiers within the framework of the International Symposia of the `Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique' (CNRS), the symposium provided an opportunity for contact between academic researchers and manufacturers, users (or potential users) of solid catalysts for fine chemical synthesis.
Two panels of industrial and academic researchers - one on selective hydrogenation, the other on selective synthesis of substituted aromatics - showed that heterogeneous catalysis already plays a significant role in fine organic chemistry. The main topics of the symposium were introduced in six plenary lectures and three invited communications, maintaining a balance between the industrial and the academic points of view. Some 60 research papers were submitted from which the Scientific Committee selected the 35 communications (oral or poster) which fitted most closely the theme of the symposium. All are reproduced in full in this Proceedings volume.